Phillies May Lose Two Prospects To Retirement

Usually, retirement is for people almost three times the age of a young baseball prospect. The Phillies though face losing two pretty decent prospects who are considering retirement from the game of baseball.

There are two players AWOL from the Phillies minor league camp in Clearwater and both are considering retirement.

Pitcher Jarrod Freeman - the number 47 prospect on the Philly Baseball News list of the Phillies top 75 prospects - has informed the team that he's considering retirement after just two seasons in the minros. Freeman, who was the Phillies 11th round pick in the 2006 Draft, hasn't reported to camp and is considering heading to college full-time rather than continuing his minor league career.

In two seasons, Freeman has gone 3-7 with a 4.27 ERA and finished the season at Lakewood in 2007. He struggled in his stint with the BlueClaws, but was slated to return there to start the 2008 season.

A bigger concern than Freeman is infielder Tyler Mach, who also has informed the team that he is considering retirement. Mach, the number 20 prospect on our Top 75 list, was the Phillies 4th round pick last June and hit .287 at Williamsport. Mach had initially been drafted by the Cardinals in the 40th round of the 2006 Draft, but returned for a final season at Oklahoma State and greatly increased his draft position with a nice senior season.

Mach's possible retirement is interesting because of a quote from him in his hometown paper, The Maple Valley Reporter after he was drafted. "Being 22, I'm going to give myself five years. At the end of that, we'll see where I'm at. Minor league life is definitely not like major league life... Ever since I was little, I looked up to guys in the major leagues and wondered what it would be like to be in their shoes. It's weird to know I have the opportunity now. I might have the chance to make a dream come true."

Neither player has officially filed retirement papers, but neither has told the Phillies that they will be in camp anytime soon. It's still possible that either or both will return to the team. One question is whether Freeman would qualify for the college money that high school players are given as part of their standard minor league contract. Generally, the college money only kicks in if a player is released or injured and can no longer play.

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